Nov. 17, 2006
Moraga, CA- The Saint Mary's women's basketball team used a 48-point second half to surge past the visiting Miami Hurricanes 69-68 Friday night from McKeon Pavilion. Down 12 at the half, the Gaels rallied past the Hurricanes to hand head coach Paul Thomas his first career victory at the helm. With the win, SMC improves to 1-1 while UM falls to 3-1.
The Gaels used a 17-3 run to start the second half to take a 38-36 lead with 13 minutes remaining. The two point lead at the 13:43 mark was Saint Mary's first lead since the first bucket of the game.
Once the Gaels took control of the lead after the run, they did not relinquish it for the remainder of the game.
The run was sparked by sophomore guard Jontelle Smith who poured in seven of her team-high 17 points during that span. The Gaels took the 38-36 lead when junior forward Monica Mertle scored on a lay in from junior guard Lauren Shaughnessy.
The Gaels shot 57 percent (16-for-28) from the floor in the second half and held the high scoring Hurricanes to just a 14 percent mark in the half.
SMC got it done at the line down the stretch, shooting 75 percent (12-for-16) from the charity stripe. Shaughnessy went 6-for-8 from the line in the second half and finished the game with 10 points and a game-high four assists.
Mertle chipped in with 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting and grabbed five boards while junior Maija Lahde added 10 points and four rebounds.
Renee Taylor led the Hurricanes with a game-high 22 points on 6-of-17 shooting. Maurita Reid tallied 13 points while Albrey Grimsley finished with 10.
The Gaels won the battle at the boards with a 42-38 advantage. SMC also took care of business at the free-throw line, shooting 75 percent for the game.
Shaughnessy and freshman Sierra Chambers made key defensive plays down the stretch as both finished with three steals a piece. Chambers added seven points and five rebounds.
With the victory, Paul Thomas earns his first win at the helm. It came against a Miami team that sported a perfect 3-0 record including a win against West Coast Conference rival Santa Clara.
Saint Mary's will continue its homestand when it hosts the Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic. The Gaels will begin classic play against Cal State Northridge at on Friday, November 24 at 7:05 p.m. from McKeon Pavilion.